New allegations Sue Grey’s report section on the ‘Abba Party’ at Downing Street has been edited
An early draft had referred to music being played from the flat and indicated when a gathering ended, according to the Sunday Times. The government has strenuously denied that No. 10’s report was modified
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New claims emerged today that details of an alleged “Abba party” at the Downing Street flat have been removed from Sue Gray’s report.
A draft of Ms Gray’s Partygate investigation had related to music being played from the flat on November 13, 2020, the Sunday Times reported.
The draft also said when the gathering ended it is claimed – with other parties in No 10 continuing until 4am.
But none of these details were in the final report.
The final version said Ms Gray decided it was not “appropriate or proportionate” to investigate further after police failed to fine anyone for the event.
Boris Johnson, his wife Carrie and a group of special advisers were at the home on the night of November 13, when indoor social gatherings were banned.
It has been alleged that ‘The Winner Takes It All’ was played after Dominic Cummings – a bitter rival of Mrs Johnson – was pushed out of 10th place.
Ms Johnson has previously denied the claims – and Mr Johnson last week claimed it was a working meeting.
Downing Street has flatly denied that the report was “amended by No 10”.
And a No. 10 source said overnight: “It’s not true that anyone on the political side saw anything in advance or tried to influence it.”
But the Sunday Times has also reported that officials – who are not on the political side – have lobbied Ms Gray over her report.
No10 has also not completely ruled out that Ms Gray changed her account herself following a communication from Downing Street.
In response to a question from the Mirror on Thursday, the Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “I don’t know when changes were made in the preparation of the report.”
Cabinet Secretary Brandon Lewis did not specifically deny the content of the Sunday Times story, but told Sky: “I don’t recognize any of it.”
He added, “Knowing Sue Gray, I don’t think anyone could pressure Sue Gray to publish a report that she wasn’t comfortable with.”
It comes after two insiders told the Mirror the document was viewed prior to publication by Boris Johnson’s chief of staff Steve Barclay, who reportedly requested changes.
They said the section on a gathering at the Downing Street flat had been “edited” on Tuesday night.
The government rejected the allegations, which were also made by an MP in the House of Commons.
Regarding allegations Mr Barclay asked for changes to be made regarding the ‘Abba Party’ – which are also repeated in the Sunday Times – Mr Lewis told Sky: “10 Downing Street has said that this allegation is incorrect, it is untrue.
“And I would say it is certain that the police did not see anything there that would have required a fine.”
UK PARLIAMENT/AFP via Getty Imag)
A third source claimed the passage about the apartment had been changed, but they didn’t know by whom.
Separately, Downing Street admitted that an official had seen parts of the document before it was published.
Sources told the Sunday Times today that Ms Gray has also been urged by three senior officials not to release some names of those attending lockdown parties.
They were permanent secretary Samantha Jones, Simon Case, the cabinet secretary, and Alex Chisholm, permanent secretary in the cabinet office, the newspaper claimed.
In response, Ms Gray told them to “direct” her to make the changes – publicly signaling her opposition to them, according to the newspaper report.
In the end, several people were named in the report.
Lib Dem Chief Whip Wendy Chamberlain said: “This looks like another disgraceful attempt by Boris Johnson and the Conservatives to cover up their lies and breaches of the law.
“The Privileges Committee must immediately investigate the alleged interference in the publication of the Sue Gray Report.
“If the government really did change the report then the truth should be told to the British public.”
It comes after the number of Tory MPs publicly declaring no confidence in their leader reached about two dozen.
Former Health Secretary Steve Brine and Anne Marie Morris were the latest to announce that they have called for a vote on Boris Johnson’s future.
The actual number of letter writers is very likely higher because it is a secret process.
Sir Graham Brady, chairman of the 1922 Committee of Backbench Tories, will order a vote of confidence if he receives 54 letters calling for one.
It came as the Sunday Times reported that Carrie Johnson had sent texts on June 19, 2020 which appeared to show she was at the flat with friends on the evening of her husband’s 56th birthday – during lockdown.
A spokeswoman for Carrie Johnson told the newspaper: “Sue Gray was aware of this exchange as part of her full investigation into alleged violations.
“Staff have had ample opportunity to provide evidence including this news and all relevant information has been passed to the Metropolitan Police for investigation.
“The noon meeting in the Cabinet Room on June 19, 2020 was later found to be a violation and, among other things, Ms Johnson was issued with a fine, for which she apologized unreservedly and paid the fine promptly.”
https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/politics/new-claims-sue-gray-report-27093747 New allegations Sue Grey's report section on the 'Abba Party' at Downing Street has been edited